Swans end last unbeaten record

Tuesday 9 October 2012.                                                 Ryman League, Division One South.


Walton & Hersham 2   Crawley Down Gatwick 1.

Swans ended the Sussex club’s unbeaten record, the only one remaining in the Ryman League Division One South, in a fine game at Stompond Lane, the win moving them up to 2nd spot in the table. This was a much improved and more solid performance by Swans, that gave them a deserved win, but the result became unnecessarily tight as they missed some good chances to score more goals, and gave the visitors a couple of chances to equalise.

A few changes were made from the side that had lost so disappointingly at Sittingbourne. Sheikh Ceesay returned in goal in place of Mo Maan, while both Dave Lawrence and Victor Kiri were able to return. Ashley Quashie came in at left-back and Aryan Tajbakhsh and Chris Wales switched roles, with Tajbakhsh dropping to right-back and Wales moving further forward.

Things did not look good for Swans early on as the visitors came at them strongly, and when Dan Dean did not get much distance on a clearing header from a long ball, Luke Blewden drove a first-time shot over from 25 yards. But after just five minutes Jamie Cade was not picked up on the right edge of the box, and he drove a left-foot volley past Ceesay and inside the right-post.

Fortunately Swans were able to hit back quickly, when after nine minutes Dave Lawrence capitalised on some hesitancy in the Anvils’ defence and ran through into the box to score with a left-foot shot into the right-corner.

With a quarter of an hour played Wales robbed Miles Mitchell close to the dead-ball line on the right, and got over a fine cross that unfortunately failed to pick out a teammate. Lawrence was soon getting in a strong shot from the left of the box, and the ball cannoned away off the chest of visiting keeper Tony Di Bernardo.

Lawrence then sent in a half-volley from the edge of the box that Di Bernardo got well behind on his line, before Swans took the lead after 23 minutes. Jerome Maledon and Phil Williams played a short corner on the left, and Maledon’s cross to the far-post found Ashley Quashie, who leapt to plant a firm header just inside the post.

With ten minutes left of the half Swans were grateful to Ceesay for preserving their lead. A ball inside from the right set up a clear chance for Baff Addae, who got in a shot that the Swans’ keeper kept out with a superb save, diving to his left to turn the ball onto the post.

Williams was having a fine match, and five minutes into the second-half he set up the chance that should have clinched the win for his side. Williams made a terrific run into the box on the right before finding Graeme Purdy, but the usually reliable striker drove the ball over an open goal from just a few yards. As the match entered the last half-hour Williams made another fine run into the left of the box before laying the ball back to Lawrence, who stabbed his shot across goal and wide of the far-post.

The visitors were certainly not looking out of the match however, and when they got in a cross from the right that led to a close-in header, Swans were fortunate when the ball deflected over the bar off the head of a defender.

Swans made a double substitution when Harry Smart and Ashley Watson replaced Lawrence and Purdy, who were both feeling the effects of injury. With just under a quarter of an hour left a long ball found Williams on the right, and he made another superb run inside before laying the ball back to Smart, and he got in a low shot that looked certain to make it 3-1, but just as the ball was going over the line a defender got across to kick it away.

Swans were almost made to pay for missed chances with ten minutes left when Dan Sintim’s header back on the right only found Blewden, whose shot beat the advancing Ceesay, but   fortunately went the wrong side of the near-post.

With the visitors pushing for the equaliser Swans always looked like catching them on the break, and with two minutes left they were outnumbered at the back as substitute Adriano Moraes burst clear, but with players in support he tried to go it alone, and was closed out. Smart then took a free-kick from the edge of the box, but although his shot got through the wall Di Bernardo was well positioned on his line.

Deep into stoppage-time Swans were again almost punished for not settling the match earlier as an attack broke down, and the visitors got away down the right. The ball was played low across the six-yard box, and a player sliding-in in front of goal was just inches away from getting a touch.

Swans’ Team: Sheikh Ceesay, Aryan Tajbakhsh, Ashley Quashie, Jerome Maledon, Dan Dean, Dan Sintim, Chris Wales (Adriano Moraes 84’), Victor Kiri, Graeme Purdy (Ashley Watson 72’), Dave Lawrence (Harry Smart 72’), Phil Williams. Subs. not used: Josh Bonnett, Harold Odametey. Scorers: Lawrence (9’), Quashie (23’).

Crawley Down Team: Di Bernardo, Page, Mitchell, Richards, Graves, Morley, Sargent, Logan, Cade, Blewden, Addae. Subs. not used: Donaghey, Coleman, Diarra, Frankland, Steers. Scorer: Cade (5’).